Watch: Mama panther reunited with kitten

Mother panther reunites with her baby!
Mother panther reunites with her baby!(FWC)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 10:22 AM EDT
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NAPLES, Fla. (WWSB) - Officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife shared a video after a mama panther was reunited with her kitten.

In March, FWC staff were notified of a 4-month-old panther kitten in Collier County that had been separated from its mother.

Biologists searched the area for signs of the mother while the kitten was taken to Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens for a health assessment. Initially, there was no sign of an adult female panther, so FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists used towels with the kitten’s scent to mark along nearby trails in hope of attracting the panther to the area to reunite her with her offspring.

That evening the kitten was placed in a cage in front of a livestream camera while biologists waited nearby, prepared to open the cage should the female panther approach the kitten. The mother didn’t show up. Not certain if she was alive or in the area, the decision was made to transport the kitten to White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL for rehab care.

Sure enough, the next night, trail camera footage showed a panther walking by the kitten release site. Tracks confirmed it was an adult female, so the kitten was transported back to Naples. Biologists again placed the kitten in a cage where the female had been seen and monitored via livestream camera, but she did not return that night. Naples Zoo cared for the kitten during the day, plans were made for a third attempt to reunite the pair.

That evening, a female panther approached and immediately showed maternal behavior toward the kitten. FWC panther biologist released the kitten from the cage, reuniting mother and daughter! The kitten was fitted with a small, temporary, expanding radio-collar so biologists could verify that its mother continued to care for the kitten, now identified as FP264. Telemetry data indicates that FP264 is alive and well, being cared for by her mother.

Added proof came in recently, as trail camera footage captured the pair together one month after reuniting. The kitten’s collar will soon drop off, after which time biologists hope to continue monitoring the pair with trail cameras.

You can watch that video below.

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